Often overlooked in favour of airplanes, ferries boast numerous advantages for the traveller. For shorter journeys they can often be faster, with the added bonus of economical prices and spectacular scenery. The world’s most iconic sights and city skylines look different on approach from the water. Here are five ferry rides to add to your travel bucket list today.

  1. Golden Horn Ferry, Istanbul

We’ll star the list with a ferry ride that notoriously connects east and west. The Golden Horn Ferry in Istanbul traverses the ancient waterway separating Asia from Europe, crossing over the Bosphorus River throughout the day and evening. During this short but incredibly scenic journey you’ll be able to admire Ottoman architecture, historic bridges, and palace turrets alike. You can also opt for longer journeys that travel up and down the Bosphorus to make it a more leisurely excursion.

  1. Alaska Marine Highway System

Alaska is one of North America’s true wildernesses, encompassing over 650,000 square miles of mountain landscapes and countryside. It’s encircled by coastline on three of its sides, which is why it makes sense to navigate by ferry. The Alaska Marine Highway System is an official system of ferry routes that traverses from Bellingham, Washington all the way up to Dutch Harbour, Alaska. There are over 30 stops in between the two ends, allowing you to get on and off in scenic towns throughout the state. Watch the water and you may spot whales offshore.

  1. Star Ferry, Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s modern skyline is one to remember, so see it from the water from the famous Star Ferry. It’s been in operation since 1888, making it not only one of the world’s most scenic ferry rides but also one of the oldest. Connecting the areas of Central and Wan Chai with Kowloon in a short, zippy ride across the Victoria Harbour, it is particularly scenic during evening departures when you can view the skyline all lit up.

  1. Sardinia to Corsica, Mediterranean

For the ultimate scenic Mediterranean cruise, try taking the ferry from the Italian island of Sardinia to the French island of Corsica. You’ll depart from Sardinia’s captivating white sandy beaches and pastel harbours and journey across azure blue water to reach the jagged, rugged peaks of Corsica. Book ferries to Corsica easily! While overnight sailings are possible, travel during the daytime to enjoy spectacular views of the Mediterranean’s verdant islands jutting out of the water.

  1. Staten Island Ferry, New York City

One of the best ferry rides is also completely free of charge. The Staten Island ferry gives tourists and residents alike a free view of the Manhattan skyline as well as up close views of the Statue of Liberty. It departs from South Manhattan daily, operating 365 days a year no matter the weather. Avoid rush hour for the most leisurely sightseeing opportunities, as this is an active ferry used by thousands of New Yorkers to get to and from work.